Sunday, February 21, 2010

Allods Cash shop Hysteria may be Naive

Staunchest supporter turned most ardent critic of Allods online Keane sums up his anger in a recent blog entry: None of us can afford to pay $50-$75 per month to PvE at level 40.  If that really is the amount that would be required to sustain a serious end game player then the whole apoplectic furore over the Allods cash shop is naive in the extreme. We have always known that serious players of a free to play game have to spend more than the $15 per month sub typical cost of subscription games. This has to be the case because most players don't pay a dime so serious end game players need to pay substantially more. In a much quoted Gamasutra feature Puzzle Pirates head man Daniel James revealed that the average revenue per paying user of the free to pay verion of Puzzle Pirates is just under $50 per month. How could people expect to pay less for a full featured free to play like Allods?

9 comments:

Gravity said...

I didn't know how much F2P users actually paid. Thanks for that.

mbp said...

Hi Gravity.

It seems a surprisingly high figure at first but it is really only 3x the normal subscription price. Given that (far) less than a third of players pay anything at all it averages out at mush less than a normal sub per user.

Tesh said...

It's worth noting that Puzzle Pirates has a blind currency exchange for their dual currency model. Players can sell doubloons to other players for in-game gold. That tends to even out the "money vs. time" equation, and it's all in the hands of the players. Sure, you get a somewhat similar effect with the Auction House in AO, but it's not nearly as granular and effective.

heartlessgamer said...

In regards to the Gamasutra article, what that $50 per paying user showed was that players were spending more at once and buying in at higher price points at that time. There wasn't much to show how long these paying players kept paying at these levels.

mbp said...

Two very good points Heartless and Tesh.

I saw the references to the auction house in Gpotato's communication but I didn't really understand the significance until I read your comment Tesh. Like you I don't buy it though - if every high level player needs cash shop items to survive then the prices on the AH are likely to be astronomical.

Heartless you make a very good point. Daniel James says that only 5000 of their millions of registered players pay anything in any one month an d the average spend is $50. I assumed it was the same 5000 people every month but perhaps it isn't. Perhaps a much larger group of people make periodic payments of £50 or so every few months. Obviously if more people pay something then the average spend per paying user can be less to keep the game viable.

One interesting number to note it that he feels $3 per month per user (including paying and non paying) would be enough to make a flash game viable. Allods feels like a bigger more expensive game than Puzzle Pirates though and it needs its own servers etc - so perhaps that number needs to be higher for Allods.

Anonymous said...

"We have always known that serious players of a free to play game have to spend more than the $15 per month sub typical cost of subscription games."

so, SO wrong. I play DDO as a 'freemium' player - I paid about fifty bucks in the few few months to buy content, and after that I've maybe spent $5 per month tops. And its a great game with a hugely growing population and regular new content.

Allods looked like being the same, and then they released a cash shop which actively drives players away because of the business model they use.

mbp said...

@anonymous I agree with you that Turbines DDO model is a better one. I played DDO myself for a while and I thought the cash shop was very unobtrusive and very fair. One feature of DDO's business model which may explain this is the fact that a very high percentage of people who play DDO pay something. This is because of the "gating" mechanism where you pay for adventure packs. I know it is possible in theory to earn credit in game to buy these but in reality its not worth the trouble so most players buy them. By broadening the base of payers Turbine are able to keep the costs reasonable for everybody.It sounds like your expenditure to date has worked out at about €15 per month. Allods doesn't have such a gating mechanism . At the moment most of the early and middle game can be easily enjoyed for free. That leaves the few dedicated end-gamers to foot the whole bill which may explain some of the outrageous costs.

olen said...

The thing is.. if you advertise a game as F2P, and then introduce mechanics that make it absolutely, unquestionably impossible to level up (im not speaking of high level, but also low-mid level) or do anything else in game.. then ofcourse there will be a lot of rageing going on. Allods, with the 1.1+ patch.. is absolutely unplayable without a constant use of insence and charms, which you will need to pay for constantly. You dont pay to be "imba", you pay to play. Now, the servers are empty.. and the game is ruined even for those that would be willing to pay for the game.

mbp said...

Hi Olen I haven't played Allods in a while but reading about the new patch it does seem that they are determined that every player will pay something to play. All things considered they would probably have been better off just charging a monthly subscription perhaps with a limited free trial. They probably wouldn't have attracted as many players initially but at least those who chose to try the game would have known what they were letting themselves in for.